- By Native News Online Staff
In late February, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes will host over 150 Native college students in El Reno, Oklahoma for a weekend conference discussing Jesus and culture. Among the questions students will consider: Would Jesus eat frybread?
At the annual Would Jesus Eat Frybread (WJEF?) conference, students from across Turtle Island and Pasifika will hear from Indigenous speakers, talk with other Native college students, and share songs, dances, stories and traditional foods from their own cultures.
Ceidric Platero (Diné) attended his first WJEF? in 2016. “Before going to WJEF?, I thought that running from my culture was what Jesus asked me to do,” Platero shared about his 2016 experience in a statement. “What I found at this conference, besides warm hugs and good food, was an invitation from Jesus to not see my culture as a shameful background of my Christian life, but to see my culture as a blessing and [an] important part of who Creator God made me to be.”
Campus ministries Nations and Native InterVarsity have sponsored the conference since it began in 2012. They acknowledge Christianity can be a triggering topic for Native people, and they approach these conversations with kindness and good relations, under the belief that Indigenous people can find beauty and harmony in honoring both Jesus and Native culture.
Platero said the conference creates space to talk about narratives and cycles of shame, grieve historical trauma, make new friends, and heal together—“for generations passed and generations to come.”
WJEF22 will take place February 18 to 20. Featured speakers include Cheyenne elder and honored professor Dr. Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne and Arapaho motivational speaker Christian Wassana, and creator of the First Nations Version New Testament Terry Wildman (Ojibwe/Yaqui). Music will be provided by Jonathan Maracle (Mohawk).
Registration is now open on the conference website: wjef.org.
More Stories Like ThisEffort to Protect Tribes Impacted by Federal Cannabis Laws Advances in Interior Appropriations Bill
Native Bidaské with Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Road to Healing Tour Starts July 9 in Oklahoma
Supreme Court Rules State has Concurrent Jurisdiction in Indian Territory
Tara Sweeney Out; Mary Peltola In for Alaska's Special Congressional Election Ballot
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.